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  • by ziggy (25) on 2002.02.04 13:41 (#4065) Journal
    I don't know when or where the name "Egypt" came to pass (Rome? Latinized Greek?), but "Judea and Samaria" (Yehuda v'Shomron) is typical for Israeli naming. Egypt is still called [Eretz] Mitzrayim -- the land of bondage, as if Moses airlifted the entire nation across the Sea of Reeds just last week. The rest of the middle east, FWIR, is as the English named it.[*]

    How did it get this way? Go ask Ehud Ben-Yehuda, the inventor of modern Hebrew. Where ever a biblical term was applicable, it was maintained. Where ever no biblical term was applicable, a new term was forged based on the experience of the semitic, european and russian Jews living in Palestine at the time. (Occasionally this failed to be adopted, and an american word was translitereted - like "baby sitter").

    *: the name for the USA actually drops any reference to Amerigo Vespucci, and is quite poetic: "Aretzot HaBreet" -- the lands of the covenant (referring to constitution, not the lands where every boy has a Bris...)

    • Placenames in Mingo [] are mostly the same way: they have a bunch for local (Ohio, WV, PA, NY) things, and then just things here and there, and everything else is copied from English.

      I remember that the word for Florida was interesting, tho -- it was hard to make out whether it meant "There-Are-Alligators-There" or "Things-Deteriorate/Disintegrate There". (It was hard to tell because the word for "alligator" (or was it "crocodile"?) is something like "it-is-leprous", and "leprous" is based on the root that o

    • BTW, Partridge's Origins says English "Egypt" < Latin "Aegyptus" < Greek "Aigyptos", which is apparently from Babylonian "H.ikupta", which is the Babylonian name for the city of Memphis. The Ancient Egyptian name for Memphis was "Atur", so it's not clear how/if you get "H.ikupta" form "Atur".